Many years ago, when I got my first dog Liana, we enrolled straight away into a group dog training class for adult dogs. She’s the fawn colored one in this photo (how great is she?!).
For many dogs, a group dog training class is a great way for the humans to get some introductory information. In a good class set up, it is also a perfect environment for the dog to learn and be calm around other dogs.
Liana needed specific support
If I knew then what I know now, I wouldn’t have enrolled Liana for a group class straight away. Instead, I would have enrolled with her in a private one on one session with a qualified behaviorist.
I’m not suggesting that this is what every dog needs. However for Liana, she needed help. As her humans, we also needed a lot of help to be able to understand how to support her best. Teaching her to sit or go to her mat was exactly what we did not need. As newbie dog owners, we didn’t know that. We thought if we just worked harder on her loose lead walking skills she would stop trying to charge every dog she saw. Or if we just spent more time training she would be less anxious.
Unfortunately for Liana’s anxiety, she did not need her humans spending more time telling her what to do. In fact, she needed the opposite. From what we know of her history she was severely abused. Because of her past, a human standing front on to her and saying a cue was pretty intense and confrontational for her. So what she needed from us, and eventually got, was time, medication, and to feel safe just being herself.
What we needed as humans from the dog training school was for them to recognize that a group dog training class was not in her, or our best interest. If that had been the case then we would have been able to help her much earlier.
At Fur Get Me Not we will refer you to a one on one consult instead of group dog training class if we think this is in your dog’s best interest. Here are a few factors to consider.